Robert Bovington is an Englishman living in Spain. He is enthusiastic about his adopted country and its people ? so much so, that he provides the reader with his impressions of a country that is a dynamic member of modern Europe ? a country that until not so long ago was ruled by a military dictator following the ravages of a Civil War.
From Almería in sun-kissed Andalucía to Zaragoza in historic Aragón; from ancient Antequera to Vitoria-Gasteiz in the Basque country; the author takes the reader on a tour of Spain. He visits the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Córdoba's Mezquita and the Cathedral at Santiago de Compostela. He explores Spain's diverse natural landscapes ? the Picos de Europa, the Sierra Nevada, the Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote and the vast plains of La Mancha.
The author takes the reader on a journey through Prehistoric, Iberian, Roman, Visigoth, Muslim and Christian Spain.
During his travels, he encounters famous Spaniards ? composers Isaac Albéniz and Tomás Luis de Victoria, artists Francisco Goya and Pablo Picasso, writers Miguel de Cervantes and Gerald Brenan ? the latter being one of a number of 'honorary Spaniards' like American Washington Irving. Kings and Queens, too, are encountered ? Ferdinand and Isabella, Abd-er-Rahman I, Boabdil, Wilfrid the Hairy?
Bull fighting, football, fiestas, flamenco and the diversity of Spain's languages are experienced whilst food and drink, Spanish style, is on the menu during the trip.
Throughout the journey, the keyword is diversity. The heritage of Spain is diverse - between the modern cities and the industrial centres lay old towns that seem to defy the march of time. Many of these fascinating places have been awarded World Heritage status ? perhaps because of the diversity of architecture as much as the historic importance. The traveller is likely to encounter Romanesque cathedrals, Gothic churches, Moorish castles, Modernist civil buildings, beautiful plazas and more during visits to these historic centres. Every Spanish province has such a town ? a town that preserves the beauty of its unique past.
Spain's countryside is diverse. It may have more mountain ranges than Switzerland but it has arid plateaux too! Compare the sun-kissed beaches of the southern Costas to the rain swept coast of Galicia or contrast the vast area of rugged limestone of the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park in Andalucía with the subtropical forest of the Garajonay National Park on the Canary island of La Gomera. Spain has more protected areas than anywhere else in Europe ? fifteen National Parks, thirty-three Biosphere Reserves and hundreds of Natural Parks ? some with unique ecosystems like the Cabo de Gata in the province of Almería.
The people too are diverse ? or should we say peoples because the seventeen autonomous regions are fiercely independent ? so much so, that many prefer to use their local language rather than Castilian. Whether it is Catalan, Galician or Euskera or dialects like Valenciano or even obscure languages like Aranese, only around 60 percent of Spaniards use Castilian as their natural language.
The diversity of Spain has inspired Robert Bovington to provide us with his "Spanish Impressions"